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Mahon_MichaelHaving led Ohio’s HER REALTORS® to growth and increased success, Michael Mahon switched gears last fall to take on the role of president at Southern California’s acclaimed First Team Real Estate. Here, Mahon shares his vision for the independent, regional leader.

Maria Patterson: Why was heading up First Team an attractive option for you?
Michael Mahon:
What intrigued me most was the market. When you look at the average sales price here and the overlay of technology, there’s more of an opportunity on the West Coast. When you take the coaching, education and support that First Team offers and marry that with the talent we have, there is a huge opportunity for growth.

MP: What is it about the culture at First Team that attracted you?
It comes down to the people. Cam (Cameron Merage, First Team CEO and founder) had already established a great group of managers and associates, working to make a difference for customers and communities. We just celebrated our 40th anniversary, and there are people who have been with us for 40 years. That says a lot about the culture of our company; it’s like family.

MP: What lessons are you taking from HER that can be applied at First Team?
At HER, we learned to shout the culture. “We are HER” became a catalyst, a rally cry. As I came into First Team, I spent the first 30 days going out to every office to talk to people and have discussions with managers. I worked with Cam, managers, customers, and critical associates to come up with a way to brand our culture—to bring everyone together. One word came to mind: care—agents caring about customers, managers caring about agents. So, we came up with, “First Team: Putting You First.”

MP: What is your primary goal as president of First Team?
Education. We are focused on helping to educate our sales associates to get to the customer first, and then being able to service that customer in the way they want to be serviced. Our leadership team is working on state-of-the-art education, coaching, and technology systems to leverage our associates time in maximizing value and results to our customers pre- and post-close of escrow.

MP: How do you plan on taking educational efforts to the next level?
We’ve initialized a new level of coaching, which is a combination of internal resources and third-party national experts. Our coaching focuses on every level of the career development of a sales associate, which enhances our ability to provide career opportunities to millennials as well as seasoned agents looking for enhancements in their quality of life and retirement options for the future.

MP: What is your biggest challenge in taking on this role?
Communication. There can be an inability to get agents engaged in our industry, as everyone is busy. I’m working to ramp up communication internally and externally, using every channel you can think of. And that’s where the opportunity is. First Team has been the best-kept secret. Now, in 2017, we’re shouting from the rooftops the opportunities available with First Team Real Estate.

MP: What are some of the biggest business opportunities in your market right now?
We have the largest population of retired military and we are offering a specific program focused on that group. Other opportunities involve our ability and willingness to invest in our people. With changes in market and economy, many competing brokerages lack the resources necessary to invest in innovation and the systems necessary to provide for greater growth of customers and associates.

MP: What are the company’s plans for growth?
We’re looking to expand our footprint across California. We believe the economy in California may have more challenges over the next couple of years, but when you have systems and support in place, you’ll be prepared for intrinsic and extrinsic growth opportunities that present themselves in the future.

For more information, please visit

Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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